Earlier this month, the W3Cs XML Protocol Working Group released its final SOAP 1.2 specification (in W3C language, a Proposed Recommendation). SOAP is the core Web services standard, and the 1.2 specification caps two and a half years of development. For more details, click here.
Seven organizations have been developing SOAP 1.2-compatible products in step with the standards development process, and so I expect to see production-ready support announced concurrently with the standards final release.
The SOAP 1.2 Proposed Recommendation still needs to be approved by the entire W3C membership, a step that is almost always a formality and should happen in the next few weeks.
SOAP 1.2s biggest change is its merging of SOAP 1.1s structured HTTP invocation format with a new, much simpler invocation method based on passing method name and input parameters in an HTTP URL. This brings together the SOAP and the competing Representational State Transfer camps, a welcome unification in the Web services world.
SOAP 1.2 also offers numerous smaller cleanups over its predecessor, although it unfortunately continues to lack a security framework.